October 2007 40-Prompts Challenge - 18. Blood


Disclaimer: The characters of "The Magnificent Seven belong to MGM, Trilogy, etc and are used here without permission. No copyright infringement is intended. The ATF AU was created by MOG in "A Birthday In The Present".
Challenge: October 2007 40-prompts challenge. Word 18 - Blood.
Universe: ATF
Characters: Nathan
Rating: Suitalbe for people over 13
Feedback: Email MMW


Nathan stood at the sink in the bathroom staring at his hands. Though he knew it was no longer there, he could still feel his friend’s blood coating them.

So often they depended on his skills, on his abilities, on his training to see them through until the professionals could arrive. So many times he had been asked to stand between one of his brothers and death. And each time, it got a little harder to get rid of the blood, to get rid of the knowledge that his co-worker’s, his brother’s, his family’s blood was leaking out around his hands.

In the early days, when they were just co-workers, it had somehow been easier, not that it was ever easy. It could never be easy, should never, be easy to hold someone’s life in your hands, but there hadn’t been the doubts he had now in his abilities. There hadn’t been the nearly consuming fear that this time he wouldn’t know enough, couldn’t do enough to keep his brother in this world instead of letting him slip away to the next.

This time it had been Josiah.

It was bad.

It was stupid.

But at least there hadn’t been any crows.

Closing his eyes as the warm water continued to flow over his hands, Nathan felt his mind transport him back to that afternoon.

They had taken their positions early. The plans had been reviewed time and again. Everyone was covered and everyone would cover someone else’s back.

The takedown had been flawless. There had been no fights, no shooting, just the suppliers dropping to their knees and placing their hands on their head.

“All clear,” Chris transmitted after receiving reports from the team.

The blond was just heading over to Ezra and Buck when the shot sounded.

Immediately, shouting started, the sellers were thrust to the floor face down and roughly cuffed as Chris, Ezra and Buck crouched near them to provide cover fire if needed.

“Report!” came the command.

Everyone had reported to the team leader. Everyone except Josiah, that is.

“Josiah, report!” Chris commanded.

Dread and fear had flowed through the rest of Team Seven as a very weak sounding Josiah replied with one word only, “Medic.”

The gunshot had started Nathan’s mind processing. It was second nature anymore.

Gunshots meant injuries – whether to his teammate or to the suspects, it didn’t matter, he would have other work to do.

When Josiah failed to check in, his insides had clenched, nearly strangling him with the worry, but there was no time.

Forcing his emotions and fears aside, he ran from his hiding spot toward where Josiah was supposed to be.

JD came rushing in carrying the medical kit. It was more fully stocked than the normal one teams used, but every item in it was one Nathan had used to save someone’s life at some point or another.

Arriving behind the crates near the door where Josiah had been positioned, He found the older man lying on the ground, a small pool of blood gathering under his wounded shoulder.

That in and of itself wouldn’t have been too bad, but the bullet hadn’t gone through the fleshy part of the shoulder. From what he could see, it had penetrated the Kevlar vest and had stopped just outside the socket bone and a little under Josiah’s collarbone.

There were too many things that could go wrong with a bullet there. He had quickly grabbed a pair of latex gloves and set to work. Pushing aside his worry with nearly superhuman effort.

He tuned out the concerned and nearly panicked voices of his friends as he did his best to stabilize the shoulder before attempting to stop the bleeding.

Though he knew it had only been a few minutes, it still felt as if he had been applying pressure for hours when the paramedics showed up.

Filling them in on what he knew, Nathan stepped aside and watched as they worked on Josiah, numb to the emotions, the fear, the need for assurance that pressed upon him. How could he reassure others when he couldn’t reassure himself?

Stripping off the rubber gloves he’d been wearing, he stashed them in the biohazard bag JD had ready. The idle thought that it was disturbing how comfortable they all were with the minutia of first-aid passed through his mind fleetingly, failing to set off any alarms or increase his worry.

For now they just had to make sure Josiah was OK.

Now Nathan stared at his clean hands, knowing no blood had actually touched him, but feeling it nevertheless.

A door opened behind him.

“Doctor’s coming, Nate,” JD announced.

“Yeah,” Nathan agreed, knowing that he was still needed and wondering how many more times he would be able to watch one member or another of his family end up in here before he could no longer face it. “I’m coming,” he assured, shutting off the water and taking a deep breath.

He reached for a towel and dried his hands.

Tossing the towel into the trash, he stepped outside and prepared himself to explain whatever it was the doctors had decided.

Right now it didn’t matter what he could or couldn’t do, what he did or didn’t do in the field, how many times he held the others together physically. Right now he just needed to be there for him family just as they would be there for him.


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